After a heated community discussion in December, planners have listened to residents’ calls for alternatives to the Discovery Park gate. 

At the meeting, residents were concerned that the planners hadn’t properly vetted alternatives before perusing the gate, which would block off the road that leads to the water treatment plant and the lighthouse beach area. 

King County Wastewater Treatment Division (WTD) continues to hear strong opinions on both sides of the issue, said WTD communications specialist Annie Kolb-Nelson. 

Seattle Parks and Recreation and WTD plan to pursue more a stringent parking-enforcement program over the summer. In fall 2014, they will assess how successful those programs are before deciding whether to pursue the gate. 

“People wanted more specifics basically on ‘What exactly have you tried? How many times have you called the police and towing?’” she said. “I don’t think we had anything quantifiable.” 

As Kolb-Nelson understands it, there hasn’t been consistent strict enforcement of the eight-spot parking lot, reserved for people with disabilities and small children. 

The trial period will include increased signage, diligence and enforcement, with expanded efforts around ticketing and towing, Kolb-Nelson said. 

“[We’ll see] if it will deter any of the illegal parking and alleviate the safety concerns that the plant operations staff have,” she said. 

At the end of the summer, Parks and WTD will return to the community with their assessment of the trial before going before the Board of Park Commissioners. 

There’s a cost and benefit to both options, Kolb-Nelson said. The proposed gate had a projected price tag between $300,000 and $400,000. 

The commissioner will have the final say on whether the gate is installed.  

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